All I need to know about pets in Switzerland

All you need to know about pets in Switzerland
Moving to Switzerland with your pet

Do you want to take your four-legged friend to Switzerland with you when you move? Pets are very popular with the Swiss, and many people have a cat or a dog - the nation’s two favourite animals - that share their owners' lives.

1.7 million

The number of cats in Switzerland1.


The number of dogs in Switzerland1.


Swiss households allocate on average 0.3% of their monthly budget, or CHF 31, to their pets1. This ranges from CHF 1,000 per year for a cat to CHF 2,000 per year for a dog!

Importing your pet

Would you like your pet to be part of your new adventure in Switzerland?

If your pet fulfils the following conditions, he or she may enter the country duty-free:

  • has a microchip or tattoo as a means of identification
  • has a rabies vaccine certificate
  • has a European pet passport, or that of another country recognised by the European Union

Pets imported by you duty-free may not be sold once they have arrived in Switzerland.

If you arrive in Switzerland from a third country outside the European Union, you should report your pet to the customs official on duty where his or her import documents and conditions are checked. In addition, if the animal’s home country presents a risk of rabies, your pet will be subjected to more stringent checks (blood tests, obtaining an import permit, etc.).

See the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs Office online tool to help you determine the steps required to import your animal, depending on your home country.

Dog in a field in Switzerland
Also please be aware of cantonal regulations regarding keeping fighting dogs: some breeds may even be banned in certain cantons. The cantonal veterinary department of your future place of residence can provide you with more information on this topic.

Keeping pets

Some animals cannot be kept alone, according to the Swiss Animal Protection Act: this is the case for gerbils, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, canaries, budgerigars, parrots and many fish including goldfish.

Please see the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs Office website for more information on the keeping of pets in Switzerland.

When you rent

For tenants in Switzerland, your landlord may not allow you to have a pet.

To install a cat flap in your rental property, it is necessary to ask your landlord's permission, which usually requires the door or window to be repaired when you leave. It is therefore advisable to keep the fixture that was installed before the cat flap was installed.

Kitten playing in an apartment in Switzerland
1infomaison, 2018. Pets in Switzerland. See

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